I found it delightful that NORAD (actually, CONAD, its predecessor) first started tracking Santa on Christmas Eve because of a misprint in a Sears Roebuck newspaper ad.
That day, Shoup would later learn, a local newspaper ran a Sears Roebuck ad inviting kids to contact Santa.
“Hey Kiddies!” the ad read. “Call me on my private phone and I will talk to you personally any time day or night.” The ad listed Santa’s direct line, but the number in the copy was off by a digit. Instead of connecting to the special line Sears set up with a Santa impersonator, kids wound up calling a secret air defense emergency number.
After a few more Santa-related calls, Shoup pulled a few airmen aside and gave them a special assignment. They would answer the phone and give callers—barring the Pentagon, we assume—Santa’s current location as they “tracked” him on their radar.
Ho ho ho, indeed!